Truck Starts Warehouse Fire
BERLIN – Several local fire companies responded to a business park in Berlin early last Saturday morning in what turned out to be a two-alarm blaze originating in a truck stored there.
Shortly before 8 a.m. last Saturday, the Berlin Fire Department was alerted to a reported structure fire at the Northeastern Supply Building on Gray’s Corner Rd. in Berlin. Premiere Flooring 2, Inc. was the tenant and occupant of the space involved. First arriving units quickly ordered a second-alarm assignment, which brought Ocean City, Ocean Pines, Showell, Bishopville and Newark units either on to the scene or to standby at neighboring stations.
The fire involved multiple rolls of carpeting and flooring materials, a Ford box truck and a two-story office inside the tenant’s space. The fire was quickly brought under control although various fire department units remained on scene for several hours to assist with overhaul and ventilation operations.
The Worcester County Fire Marshal’s Office investigated the blaze and determined it was accidental and originated in the engine department of the Ford box truck. No injuries were reported.
Illegals Arrested in Berlin
BERLIN – Berlin police this week arrested two individuals believed to be in the country illegally in two separate incidents over the span of couple of hours early Monday morning.
Around 6:35 a.m. on Monday, a Berlin police officer stopped a vehicle on Route 113 near Burley Street after clocking the car going 66 mph in a 50 mph zone. The officer determined the driver, later identified as Magzul Maynor, 24, of Bloxom, Va., was operating the vehicle without a driver’s license and the suspect was taken into custody.
During the booking process, it was learned the suspect might be in the U.S. illegally. Immigration officials were contacted, and after a brief interview, the officials took custody of Maynor.
About an hour and a half later, a similar situation unfolded not far from the first incident. Shortly after 8 a.m., Berlin Police pulled over a vehicle on Flower Street because it had one headlight out. At first, the driver gave police a false name and said he did not have a driver’s license and he was arrested for driving without a license. A little while later, the driver told police his true identity, Juan Carlos Martinez-Sosa, 19, of Berlin.
Berlin Police learned Martinez-Sosa was in the U.S. illegally. He was arrested and charged with driving without a license and giving a false name to police. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security was then contacted and Martinez-Sosa was ultimately turned over to federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials.
Attempted Burglary In Pines
OCEAN PINES – An Ocean Pines man was arrested on attempted burglary charges this week after trying to break into a house on the street where he lives.
Last Sunday, Ocean Pines Police responded to a residence in the community for a reported attempted burglary in progress. Upon arrival, Pines Police encountered a suspect, later identified as Robert Scott Schilling, 34, of Ocean Pines, who appeared to be highly intoxicated, according to police reports. The investigation revealed Schilling had attempted to enter a residence on the same street he lives on. The investigation also revealed Schilling had an amount of marijuana in his possession at the time.
Schilling was arrested and charged with fourth-degree burglary and possession of marijuana. He was taken before a District Court Commissioner who ordered him held on a $2,500 bond. He is being held in the Worcester County Detention Center.
Warrant Out For
Drug, Weapon Suspect
OCEAN CITY – A Delaware man arrested on drug and weapons charges in August had a warrant sworn out for his arrest this week when he failed to appear for trial in District Court in Ocean City.
James D. Warren, 31, of Georgetown, Del., was scheduled to appear in District Court in Ocean City on Tuesday to face drug and weapon charges, but failed to appear and had a warrant sworn out for his arrest. Warren was arrested in the resort in August after drugs and weapons were found in his vehicle pulled over because of a loud stereo.
On Aug. 2, an OCPD officer in an unmarked car around 40th Street heard a loud car stereo coming up from behind him. The Mitsubishi Eclipse passed the officer who noted he could still hear the music even though the vehicle was at least four car lengths in front of him. The officer pulled behind the car and activated his lights and siren and the driver turned around, saw the officer and reached down and turned the music off.
The officer began to tell the driver, identified as Warren, why he stopped him, but Warren butted in before the officer could finish. “It’s because of the loud music, I know. I’m sorry. This [expletive deleted] radio gets me into all kinds of trouble,” he said. Warren didn’t realize at the time the trouble he would get into because of the loud music.
A status check on Warren revealed he was driving on a suspended and revoked license from Delaware. During a search incident to his arrest, police discovered a marijuana cigarette under the left-hand side of the driver seat. The officer also discovered brass knuckles in the center console. When asked about the brass knuckles, Warren told police he used them for a belt buckle.
In the end, Warren was charged with driving on a suspended or revoked license, possession of marijuana and paraphernalia, possession of a concealed deadly weapon and a noise violation.
Trespassing, Burglary Arrest
BERLIN – A Berlin man was arrested on burglary and trespassing charges this week after police found him in an unoccupied residence.
On Tuesday, Berlin police received a call about a possible burglary in progress at a residence on Railroad Ave. Officers responded and found the door to the residence in question standing open. Berlin police searched the house and found a suspect, later identified as Derrick Eugene Smith, 41, of Berlin, in an upstairs bedroom.
Smith was taken into custody without incident and charged with fourth-degree burglary and trespassing. He was taken before a District Court Commissioner who ordered him held on a $5,00 bond. Smith is in custody in the Worcester County Jail.
Forwarded To Circuit
OCEAN CITY – One of two brothers arrested in October after resort police connected them to a series of marina burglaries in the downtown area in September appeared in District Court last week for a bail review hearing and had his case forwarded to Circuit Court.
Robert James Sickler, 37, of Ocean City, remains behind bars this week on a $100,000 bond after a bail review hearing in District Court last week during which his case was forwarded to Circuit Court. Sickler and his brother Frank William Sickler, 35, of Prince William County, Va. were arrested in October after OCPD investigators were able to connect the pair to a series of break-ins at downtown marina businesses in September including the Angler Restaurant, M.R. Ducks and Bahama Mama’s. Frank Sickler also remains in custody on a $250,000 bond although no new court dates have been scheduled.
In early September, OCPD detectives began investigating three commercial burglaries and one attempted burglary at waterfront businesses in the marina area between Talbot and Wicomico streets. According to police reports, the outside bar at the Angler Restaurant and the deck bar at M.R. Ducks, both on the water at the foot of Talbot Street, along with the outside bar at Bahama Mama’s on Wicomico Street, were all burglarized between 3 a.m. and 4 a.m. on Sept. 8.
While investigating the thefts at the Angler and M.R. Ducks, detectives discovered the suspect or suspects had also attempted to break into the Marina Deck restaurant next door but were unsuccessful. According to police reports, the cash registers at all three burglarized businesses had been pried open in a similar manner although it is uncertain how much money was removed.
OCPD detectives were able to recover video surveillance tapes from the Angler showing the two suspects enter the business and go behind the outside bar. According to police reports, the turning point in the investigation occurred when several local news media outlets showed the recovered surveillance video of the two suspects committing the burglaries and police received information from local citizens about the possible suspects.
Investigators were able to locate Robert Strickler in the resort last week and he was been taken into custody and held initially on a $65,000 bond. Police then obtained an arrest warrant for Frank Strickler, whose documents also listed an Ocean City address.
A week later, Prince William County officials notified the OCPD they had picked up Frank Sickler on the outstanding warrant for the Ocean City marina burglaries. He was eventually extradited to Worcester where he remains behind bars on a $250,000 bond.
OCPD Mourns Passing
Of Former Seasonal Officer
OCEAN CITY – Last week, members of the Ocean City Police Department and its honor guard traveled to Baltimore to attend the funeral of slain FBI agent and former OCPD seasonal officer Samuel Hicks.
Hicks began his career in law enforcement in 2001 as a seasonal officer with the OCPD. After graduating from the OCPD seasonal police academy, Hicks was assigned to dayshift patrol under current Lieutenants Robert Noll and Richard Currence and Sgt. Mark Paddack. While employed as a seasonal officer, Hicks led his shift statistically and performed his duties with dignity and professionalism exceeding all expectations, according to those under whom he served.
In the fall of 2001, Hicks left Ocean City to further his career in law enforcement. He graduated from the Baltimore Police Academy in 2002 and served on the city’s police force until 2007.
After resigning from the Baltimore Police Department, Hicks joined the FBI’s joint terrorism task force in Pittsburgh. On Nov. 18, Hicks was killed during the service of a search and seizure warrant at a suspected drug trafficker’s residence just outside Pittsburgh.
Last Tuesday, members of the OCPD and the department’s honor guard traveled to Baltimore to attend the former seasonal officer’s funeral. During the funeral, OCPD Chief Bernadette DiPino presented Hicks’ family with a memorial shadow box containing his original 2001 OCPD identification card and badge. The OCPD this week issued a statement expressing its sorrow over the passing of Hicks, who left a lasting impression on the department during his service.
“We are always reminded of the danger and sacrifice those in the law enforcement community face everyday,” the statement reads. “For police officers and their families, few things are quite as tragic as the death of a law enforcement officer killed in the line of duty. Agent Samuel Hicks has made the ultimate sacrifice.”